We are engineering a soft-landing for our housing market. We are making progress. However, continuing progress requires all to play their part. We also need a bit of luck, as some factors are completely beyond our control, e.g. what the US Federal Reserve and the key central bankers do that impacts on global economy.
One key strategy is to ramp up the supply of flats and private residential units. We will begin to feel the effect of the ramped up supply this year; but the full effect will be felt next year and the year after that.
I watch the progress of the construction programme closely as it is an important element in our soft-landing mission.
This year we are scheduled to complete 13,600 flats and 18,400 private residential units. At half-way mark, what is the score?
HDB’s contractors have completed 6,000 units as of 31 May and despite the tightening foreign labour policy, they are confident to deliver the remaining 7,600 units by year end.
I visited the BTO project Treegrove @ Woodlands today. I witnessed the main contractor handing over the keys to one of the completed blocks of flats to HDB. To help residents move into their flats earlier, HDB has arranged it such that the BTO projects are completed in phases. Buyers can receive their keys as soon as the individual blocks within the project are completed. For this particular block at Treegrove @ Woodlands, flat buyers can receive the keys within a couple of weeks.
I visited Mr Abdul Manan and his family who received the keys to their flat earlier in March. He told me that they needed a place urgently and HDB’s practice of handing over the keys block by block has benefited him greatly.
As for private residential units, 3,500 have been completed as at end of April. Based on the latest construction progress of projects, URA estimates that the remaining 14,900 private residential units can be completed this year.
I am seeing more light coming from the end of the tunnel. However, we must not be complacent and to press on with the efforts to restore the balance in supply and demand.
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